Judge Roger Atmar Barker, an Orlando native and graduate of Orlando Senior High School, served on the 9th Judicial Court in Orlando for 22 years.
Listen to oral history interview below with Judge Roger A. Barker conducted on March 6, 1993. Read about his wife Jane Alexander Barker.
LISTEN Part I (46:33)
LISTEN Part II (46:26)
LISTEN Part III (36:19)
VETERAN CIRCUIT JUDGE DIES AT 86 – ROGER A. BARKER WAS RESPECTED FOR HIS KINDNESS, SKILL AND “EXTREME INTELLECT.”
ORLANDO SENTINEL – Wednesday, November 25, 1998. Martin E. Comas, Page: D3
He called it simply “the judgin’ business.”
For more than 22 years, Circuit Judge Roger A. Barker demonstrated his keen skill for the law, hearing cases in the 9th Judicial Circuit.
The retired judge died Tuesday of a heart attack. He was 86. “He was a man of extreme intellect; he was what they call a judge’s judge,” said Circuit Judge Belvin Perry Jr., chief judge of the 9th Judicial Circuit. “He was a man that was kind. But a man, that by his mere presence, you had a respect for the office of judge.” A ceremonial courtroom on the top floor of the new Orange County Courthouse was recently dedicated to Barker.
Born in Orlando, Barker graduated from Orlando Senior High School in 1930. After earning a degree in business administration and doctor of jurisprudence in law from the University of Florida, he started a law practice at the corner of Orange Avenue and Church Street. During World War II, he served as an Army reserve second lieutenant at a camp in Tennessee. After the war, he returned to Orlando and resumed his practice. In the early 1950s he served as judge of Industrial Claims Court and county judge of Orange County. He was appointed circuit judge of the 9th Judicial Circuit in 1957. At that time there were only two other judges on the circuit, which oversees Orange and Osceola counties. Today, there are more than 50 judges. Described as a quiet, gentle man by family and friends, Barker enjoyed serving as a mentor to younger judges. “He would always encourage me and tell me when I did good job. And he would certainly tell me when I didn’t do a good job,” Perry said.
In the 1960s, Barker served a two-year term as chief judge of the 9th Judicial Circuit. He retired in 1979 but continued serving as a senior judge until the early 1990s. When he wasn’t in a courtroom, Barker enjoyed growing orchids. A shade house at his home was filled with more than 500 of his prized plants. He was a life member and past president of the Central Florida Orchid Society. Barker was an elder at the First Presbyterian Church of Orlando. He was a member of the Orange County Bar Association for more than 60 years.
“He loved the law, and he was a real student of the law,” said his wife, Jane Alexander Barker. “He was a very, very special man. I’m sure going to miss him.” The couple were married for more than 59 years. Survivors also include sons, Dr. John R. Barker, Ann Arbor, Mich., Dr. Lee Alexander, Dover, N.H., Dr. Mark Alexander, Brunswick, Maine, Dr. Walter E. Barker, Orlando, R. Andrew Barker, Seattle; daughter, Dr. Beverly Carter, Palo Alto, Calif.; 15 grandchildren; one great-grandchild.
Arrangements are being handled by Carey Hand Colonial Funeral Home, Orlando.
METRO edition, Page: D3